Raise (them) UP and 5 Year Celebration Dinner!

Raise (them) UP and 5 Year Celebration Dinner!

Thank you to all who joined us last night in celebrating 5 years of ministry! We loved having dinner with you and sharing stories of God's faithfulness!

Thank you also for your generosity last night. We're thrilled to announce that you raised over $21,000 towards the Raise (them) UP campaign and where needed most! Thank you for helping us raise up the campus so we can continue to reach the children of Nyangwena!

 
 

If you missed the dinner but still want to be a part of Raise (them) UP, you can donate below:

 

 

 

Lead2Feed

Lead2Feed

Our mission is to raise servant leaders for the Kingdom. So we’re excited when we hear stories of students stepping into servant leadership around the world! Take a class of students from Grand Rapids Christian Middle School (GRCMS). The 8th grade Global Diversity Class wanted to learn about the world and help it too. So they entered, Lead2Feed, in the hopes of raising money for their nonprofit of choice. Hear what the teacher has to say:

Lead2Feed is a student leadership competition that our school has participated in for the past few years.  Students work in teams to research a non-profit organization, learn how that organization is impacting a community, work on communicating that information in a short "elevator" speech, and then show leadership by putting on some kind of fundraising event to raise support for that organization. 
My students choose to raise support for The Esther School (TES) and Bethany Christian Services Refugee Relocation Services - because of our friendship with our TES sponsor child and our study of the world refugee crisis.  The student teams then work on branding themselves and creating a logo.  In the past each team has put on their own fundraising events, but this year, we joined forces with the 7th grade class and put on one big event, a fundraising dinner where we shared stories about The Esther School and Bethany Christian Services (refugee relocation services) and the MIRA Foundation (the 7th grade's organization). 
Then we created a video, wrote a few reflections, filled out the lengthy contest entry and sent it in. Several weeks later we learned that we won one of the 2nd place awards:  $10,000 to be shared with our three organizations and a $5,000 technology grant for our school.  SO COOL!

Thank you GRCMS Global Leadership Class for your servant leadership and making a Kingdom impact!

 

Nyangwena Soccer Academy

Nyangwena Soccer Academy

Where some people see a dusty soccer pitch, others see opportunity.

Grade three teacher, Weston Kabaghe, did at least. Through teaching and living in Nyangwena for the past two years, Weston realized the many challenges the youth of the village face. He saw them dropping out of school and falling into trouble when they were idle. Weston felt a desire to reach the youth and began thinking of how he could do it.

Weston noticed that many youth played soccer after school but the two teams in existence lacked leadership, organization, and good sportsmanship. Being a seasoned soccer player, Weston, along with a few teachers from the local school, saw an opportunity. 

“We wanted to make a program that would invest in the youths and help them find their talents. We wanted to bring back hope to the youth in the village,” said Kabaghe.

So in January, they began the “Nyangwena Soccer Academy.” Weston and the coaches were very clear about teaching a new way of soccer. They were going to focus on teamwork, sportsmanship, and discipline on the pitch.

“When we began, there were two teams in Nyangwena,” commented Kabaghe, “The teams refused to play together and would tease the younger children who came to play. We realized that we are not just coaching soccer, but coaching a person.”

The academy practices five times a week and play matches against local teams on the weekend. Everyday after knocking off from The Esther School, Weston meets the players and other coaches on the pitch for practice. And in the few short months of coming together, the impact is obvious.

Where they was once fighting, players are now working together and encouraging their teammates. The high standard of sportsmanship causes them to be noticed by their opponents, and contributed to their amazing record – only one loss!

One day, Weston hopes to make it a traveling team and to connect it with an organization that uses soccer to share the Gospel. He wants to open the academy up to other teams through soccer clinics or host a tournament. But for now, Weston is thankful.

“We are so proud of the youths. We thank God that He gave us this idea to reach the youth. There are so many good things coming out of this that I didn’t expect. The community is seeing that good things can happen when we come together.”

Weston also formed the Nyangwena Youth Organization in order to provide other ways for youth to get involved, such as singing and acting.

Popcorn into Markers

Popcorn into Markers

One grade two class at Dutton Christian in Michigan understands the importance of dry erase markers at school. They use them everyday! So when they heard that their pen pal class at The Esther School also used dry erase markers, they wanted to help. Getting dry erase markers to The Esther School can be difficult and costly, so these grade two students started brainstorming on how they could help.

The class came up with the idea to raise money for markers through a popcorn fundraiser. For one day, they would sell popcorn to the rest of the elementary classes. The students did the math and set a goal for selling 200 bags of popcorn, which could buy 64 dry erase markers. With the goal set and word out, the students got ready to serve.

What happened next blew them away! They sold 400 bags of popcorn and ran out! Some of the grade two students gave up their order so others could have it. In the end, they raised $200 and purchased 350 markers for their friends at The Esther School.

We love hearing stories of children around the world grabbing hold of the mission of The Esther School and making it their own. They are excited about the role they play in the Kingdom and unafraid to step in faith. Thank you Dutton Christian second grade class for your servant's heart and for sharing your love and joy!

"It felt like we were giving love to the school buy turning popcorn into dry erase markers."  -Dutton Christian grade two student

Sorrow May Last the Night...

Sorrow May Last the Night...

We love to share with you the joy of The Esther School. Students learning, getting to know Jesus, overcoming obstacles. But in reality, some things are hard.
 
Behind the shining smiles and blue uniforms are children coming from hard places. Poverty isn’t just a word to them - it’s a reality. That means many of them face the worry of not enough food or clean water. It means families are left broken by death.
 
Today we received news of the death of a student's mother. She was the fourth parent to pass away this semester. Eight of our students and their siblings are left without a mother or father by these deaths.

Poverty creates barriers to accessing even the most basic of health care, and because of this inaccessibility, sickness and disease takes lives too young and too often. And this community feels that fact first hand.
 
We don’t share this with you to discourage. Easter reminds us “Death has been swallowed up in victory” (Isaiah 25:8). We may live in a dark and broken world but Jesus gave us light through hope and victory.
 
He also gave us each other.

“In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other's spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out.”
(Ephesians 6:18 MSG)

We’re thankful that Jesus allows us to stand by these children in their loss and we invite you to stand with us in prayer. Nothing is more effective than bringing the plight of these children before the Lord in prayer.
 
Poverty is hard but it doesn’t have the final say. These children face harsh realities, but every day we get to offer the hope and joy of Jesus that covers all brokenness.

It's because of Jesus that we can say "Weeping may stay for the night but rejoicing comes in the morning" (Psalm 30:5)

 

Ready to Serve; Eager to Give

No matter the age, you can make a difference. We’re often reminded of this truth by the GEMS clubs in the US and Canada. These girls eagerly join in the call of bringing education and the Gospel to the children of Nyangwena. We wanted to share just one of the stories that has found it’s way to our ears.

At one of their weekly meetings, the GEMS girls’ club of Clinton CRC in Ontario talked about the importance of giving back to the Lord. They discussed the principal of tithing, giving 10% of what you have been given back to God. With a Soup Dinner Fundraiser coming up, the girls decided they wanted to give 10% of the funds raised to The Esther School.

At the “Soup & Bun Supper” the GEMS girls welcomed guests, delivered soup, and cleaned up tables. They served over 240 people! True to the word, the girls took 10% of what they raised for their club and sent it to The Esther School. The gift arrived on #GivingTuesday. Because of matching donors, the girls’ gift doubled!

We love how God is using girls like Clinton GEMS to impact the children of The Esther School, but we also love how God turns it around and uses The Esther School to instill generosity and selflessness in girls around the world. 

Job Openings for 2017

Job Openings for 2017

We have openings for our staff in Zambia for 2017! Check it out and see if God is inviting you to join Him in Zambia.

Gifts that Give

Gifts that Give

Shop with a cause this Christmas! Here's a couple of options of gifts that give back.

Exciting #GivingTuesday News!

Exciting #GivingTuesday News!

We have a generous donor who will match gifts up to $4,000! That means this #GivingTuesday your gift DOUBLES!

If we can raise $4,000 from now through #GivingTuesday, that $4,000 turns in to $8,000! Help us take full advantage of this opportunity and make double the impact for the children of The Esther School!!

Donations for #GivingTuesday can now be made through The Esther School website! Click here and give today.

 

How to Give

How to Give

Here's a "how-to" on giving for this #GivingTuesday!

Meet the Teacher: Dave and Beth Diepenhorst

Meet the Teacher: Dave and Beth Diepenhorst

WHO WE ARE:

We are Christians who daily seek to make a difference for God in the world. We are native to West Michigan and a part of the community of Holland, Michigan. For most of our lives, we have served Christ from the comfort of home. This past year, we felt the call to serve in Zambia, Africa. As a couple, we will seek to transform the world for Jesus Christ outside our comfort zone.

Traveling has always been a favorite hobby for us. With family and friends scattered around the country and new places to explore, this continues to be true. We have been on quite an adventure together: 36 years and counting! Our daughter, Kristin, and son-in-law, Joe, are both teachers in the Milwaukee area. Our son, Matt, works as a supervisor for an oil company in North Dakota. In addition to being blessed by family and friends, we love our Yorkie/Terrier puppy named Dakota, enjoy cooking, and appreciate drinking good coffee. One of the items on our to do list is to become knowledgeable about Zambian coffee.

WHY ZAMBIA?

Over the past year or so, God has placed The Esther School on our hearts and in our minds. From the first time we heard about this ministry, we felt God’s prompting. Initially, we were considering The Esther School as a possibility for our retirement plans. However, God called us sooner! We are continuing to experience God’s faithfulness throughout this process. Working at The Esther School will give us the opportunity to contribute to a thriving community in Zambia. 

Construction Continues on Grade 4-6!

Construction Continues on Grade 4-6!

We just shared a video about how we began digging for the Grade 4-6 building. Well, now we have more exciting news.

Our team of 19 local men have been working hard preparing the ground for it's foundation. This past week, the concrete was poured and bricks delivered! This is another monumental step in building Grade 4-6.

Here's the extra blessing. Because The Esther School is located an hour outside of the city, no cement company could make it to the campus before the cement hardened. So for the past buildings, the men had to mix the concrete on their own. That means fetching water, mixing small batches of cement at a time, and lengthening the amount of time needed for building projects.

But not this time.

A few months ago, a cement company moved one of their branches to a location just 30 minutes from The Esther School. That's near enough to deliver the cement before it solidifies. When God was prompting the hearts of the people the at the Raise (them) UP Dinner to give towards the Grade 4-6 classrooms, He was preparing the tools needed in Zambia to build it.

Jehovah-jireh. God provides.

IMG_0743.jpg

Meet the Teacher: Lindsey Turner

Meet the Teacher: Lindsey Turner

Meet Lindsey, our new grade three teacher. Read on and hear how this isn't her first time at The Esther School.